Kacey Musgraves brought pure country to Red Butte on Thursday night.
Musgraves branded her latest tour the “Rhinestone Revue,” and the name sure fits. Her band sported cowboy hats and Mariachi suits with flashing lights on the shoulders. The Red Butte stage was decorated with neon cactus lights, pink frills and a disco ball.
Every song Musgraves sang was a hit with the audience. They knew the words, they danced, they ate it up. Musgraves sang “Biscuits” and “Silver Lining” with a backup bass, banjo and steel guitar that really added depth to the songs. And while we’re on the subject, Musgraves singing harmonies with her band is a beautiful and rare sound that makes me blush to think about my horrid attempts at duets with my radio.
The “Pageant Material” artist befriended the Utah audience by telling a story of when she came to the Beehive State in 8th grade to perform in a Wild West show associated with the Winter Olympics.
“My friends asked me to go to the Dairy Keen, and I had no idea what the hell they were talking about,” Musgraves said. “It’s the Dairy Queen, y’all.”
Musgraves performed small town anthems like “Dime Store Cowgirl”, “Step Off” and “Mean” with the same passion and pure talent that her fans love. Her ballads are soulful and funny without being trite. They bleed pure country dancehall magic, which makes sense, because Musgraves lists her idols as Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell and Loretta Lynn.
On slow, sweet numbers like “Fine” and “Late to the Party,” Musgraves’ reminded me of Allison Krauss – her voice is almost an instrument unto itself. But she is very much her own artist, one who rocked a rhinestoned suit, picked on acoustic and electric guitars and said exactly what she thought. Case in point: she gave a shout-out to Sam Outlaw, who opened the show.
“I really love when people keep things country as s***,” Musgraves said. One of Outlaw’s songs was titled “Jesus take the Wheel… and Drive me to a Bar,” so I’d say that’s about as country as it gets.
She introduced the relatable “Family is Family” by saying, “I’ve got some freaks in my family, and this one goes out to all the freaks in yours.”
The East Texas native ditched the band for “Merry Go Round,” one of the songs that kicked off her career with its insightful social commentary about small town life.
One of the best surprises of the night was when Musgraves busted out her version of Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which, as it turns out, Musgraves wrote herself. No offense to Miss Lambert, the other East Texas queen, but I liked Musgraves’ version better (and the audience seemed to agree).
With her song “Good Ol’ Boys Club,” Musgraves used her music to stick it to her naysayers.
“I wanna do it myself, thank you,” Musgraves said.
Musgraves and her band really put on a show for “Follow Your Arrow,” the song that captured the nation’s attention back when it was released for her Grammy-winning album “Same Trailer, Different Park.”
Musgraves and her band closed things out with “These Boots were made for walking.”
And that’s just what they’ll do. Musgraves’ Rhinestone Revue was a classic country show.